Former Tribal Council Member Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), Miami Field Office, and U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, Kansas City Office, announced that fugitive Lucia Kanis, who had been arrested on May 16, 2011 in Bologna, Italy, was extradited to South Florida to face federal charges, filed in 2005, for her participation in a nationwide employee leasing conspiracy. She made her initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach earlier today, before U.S. Magistrate David Lee Brannon. Kanis was ordered detained pending trial.
Lucia Kanis, formerly a resident of Coral Springs, Florida, became a fugitive on the federal indictment and was believed to be living in Slovakia, until her arrest by Italian authorities. The indictment charged Kanis with visa fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax fraud. In 2006, co-defendants Joseph Bogacki, Jaraslow Sawchuk, and Pavel Preus pled guilty and were sentenced in connection with the same indictment by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra.
The indictment alleges that from 1995 to the date of the indictment, the defendants conspired to provide unauthorized workers, mostly East Europeans who had entered the United States on tourist visas, to American companies with whom the defendants had contracted to provide legally authorized foreign workers. The indictment alleges that more than 550 illegal aliens were brought into the United States by the defendants. According to the indictment, the alien workers obtained tourist visas to enter the United States and were employed illegally in the Midwest and Southeastern United States on farms, in dairies and in factories. The defendants allegedly contracted with American employers to provide workers, for whom the defendants were to pay payroll taxes and workers’ compensation deductions. The indictment alleges that the defendants did not pay the taxes or workers’ compensation deductions. The indictment further alleges that during the course of the conspiracy, the defendants failed to pay $6 million in payroll taxes.
The joint investigation, known as Operation Pisces, began in 2002. The investigation was led by the Kansas City Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Department of Labor-Office of the Inspector General, Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division. Mr. Ferrer thanked the Italian police authorities and the Italian Ministry of Justice for their help in the arrest and extradition of defendant Lucia Kanis. This matter is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Kay.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.